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Author Topic: Armor/Snaps Tutorial  (Read 16027 times)

K'raam Xrati

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Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« on: Sep 06, 2008, 12:19 PM »
Snaps Tutorial

I am currently using both snaps and Velcro for my armor. I put together this little tutorial to help install snaps. The snaps are great because they hold very well. One drawback of snaps is that you have to position them just right on your vest or the armor plates will set uneven. With Velcro, your plates can be adjusted much easier.

Fabric stores, like Jo-Ann’s has the snaps you need. Buy the good stuff. This set pictured cost about $7 US Dollars, enough to do 7 snaps. So they are about $1 per snap (male & female set). Walmart sells a cheaper set of snaps for about $2.50. I bought a set of these from Walmart and they are not very good, I replaced them already as they would not hold. Each snap comes in 4 pieces. 2 for the female and 2 for the male side. Need I explain male/female? Male side goes into the female side, no giggling please, these are common terms for most fasteners. You can buy more snaps separate from the tools. Make sure you buy the starter kit 1st! You need the tools for a proper job.


You'll 1st want to mount the male side on the back of the armor plate. Decide where the snap will go by test fitting. Take your time! Do it right the 1st time and you’ll be happy. You can place the armor side snap (male) in a general area on the armor. The female/vest side is where you need to be on spot. When test fitting, think about your movement also. Consider how the armor needs to move when gearing up and wearing the stuff.  

You can use both pieces of the male snap like I did. I figured this was the way to go. When the top and bottom pieces are together, they still will spin independently. This allows for some movement/self-adjustment of the armor. You can also just mount the snap part of the male side directly onto the backside of the armor. When joining both the male & female snap parts, be sure to use the anvil and striking tool provided in the snap kit. This type of snap cannot be used without the tools!

When a spot is chosen for the snap, rough up that area with some aggressive sand paper, this will help the epoxy grip even better. This should be done with any metal or composite armor. Armor made from rubber or paper…no idea how this would hold up.

Epoxy putty is the best way to adhere the male snap to the armor. It can be purchased at most auto parts and hardware stores, in many different brands (JB Weld, Permatex, Oatey, QuickSteel). They all seem to be as good as the others. A very thin slice is enough to mount several snaps. 1 snap requires as little as a pea sized ball of the mixed putty. Slice off a small amount with a razor blade or knife. There may be a protective film over the epoxy roll, remove that before kneading it together with your fingers. Be sure to watch what you touch, it will leave behind fingerprints and residue. You have plenty of time to work with the putty once it is mixed in a uniform color. It cures in minutes (read instructions). Roll a ball up for each snap, place it on the area, put the snap over the ball and press down. Most of the putty will squish out around the snap. Just as the putty is curing, carefully remove that excess putty. Also, some will come through the center hole. That’s good when it happens! That putty in the center acts as another support. It acts like a nail. You can remove that excess with a small screwdriver, leaving some of the putty just over the surface of the hole like a nail head. Once cured, it holds even better.


 
Once the putty is cured, you now can start on the female snaps. These snaps you join by pressing through the material, no putty is involved. Test fit your vest. Try the armor. Place a piece of good quality 2 inch making tape on the vest under the area where the male snap hits.


Place the armor in the exact placement you want. Press down firmly on the armor over the snap. If done correctly, the male snap with make a dent in the tape. This is where the female snap with go. It’s good to have a second person to help with the fitting. I would advise to do each female snap one at a time. This is good if you mis-mount one snap, it is easier to correct one than a  bunch.



Mark that area before you loose that dent in the tape. I used an ice pick to drive a hole into the vest material. Do not use a drill! Remove the tape once a hole is established. Place the shiny sided female snap part through the back side of the vest. Place the anvil under that part. On the outside of the vest, place the other part of the snap over the stud. Hammer the snap together. Test fit each snap as you go. Remember, take your time!



Thanks to Runi for finding this general idea on another forum. We did this procedure on his stuff, and I have since figured out the little nuances (like the masking tape) on how to do this even better!
« Last Edit: Oct 07, 2011, 09:35 AM by K'raam Xrati »


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TheMandoMan

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Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #1 on: Sep 06, 2008, 11:46 PM »
And if you don't have any good masking tape around, and are too lazy to get some more, you can dab some paint onto the male snaps so it will mark the rim of the snap onto the vest.

Great tutorial!  I'll be using this when I get my new armor done.
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Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #2 on: Sep 19, 2008, 05:07 PM »
Okay, this is VERY helpful.  I got the wal-mart snaps, i just had trouble sticking them to the armour and making them stay.   
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K'raam Xrati

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Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #3 on: Sep 19, 2008, 07:15 PM »
I got the wal-mart snaps, i just had trouble sticking them to the armour and making them stay.   

What problem did you have? The snap (brand) should not matter when it comes to adhering to the armor when done this way.

EDIT: I have tried the Walmart brand. I had no success with the crappy snaps. I have removed all WM snaps and through away all unused ones they were so bad.
« Last Edit: Sep 19, 2013, 04:20 PM by K'raam Xrati »


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Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #4 on: Sep 19, 2008, 07:45 PM »
really nice tutorial, thanks for the in-depth info!  I was trying to decide between molle straps, velcro, or the snaps, and now after reading this, it puts this in pretty high favor.

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Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #5 on: Sep 21, 2008, 08:52 PM »
What problem did you have? The snap (brand) should not matter when it comes to adhering to the armor when done this way.

Sorry, I wasn't clear.  All I had was a little super glue and model glue.  Even after the glue dried, it didn't take much for the snaps to unstick to the armour.  I have yet to get my hands on some sort of adhesive putty.  I'm going to try to get some this week.
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K'raam Xrati

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Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #6 on: Sep 21, 2008, 10:39 PM »
All I had was a little super glue and model glue.  Even after the glue dried, it didn't take much for the snaps to unstick to the armour.  I have yet to get my hands on some sort of adhesive putty.  I'm going to try to get some this week.

Yes, you need something different than glue. I just bought another tube of the epoxy tonight. Walmart automotive section, Quiksteel brand, 2 oz tube $4.00. Super glue will not do it and model glue only works on Styrene plastic, eventually.


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Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #7 on: Sep 22, 2008, 01:36 AM »
Yes, you need something different than glue. I just bought another tube of the epoxy tonight. Walmart automotive section, Quiksteel brand, 2 oz tube $4.00. Super glue will not do it and model glue only works on Styrene plastic, eventually.

Wal-Mart has it?  I did not know that.  I'm going to try to get some tomorrow morning before classes start.  I have a couple places in mind, too. Thank you very much.
Yes, I have a lightsaber.  Yes, I have Force Powers.  Got a problem with that?  Too bad.

Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #8 on: Sep 23, 2008, 03:04 AM »
Err...  Still not working. :(  I went out and got this "Perma oxy" Stuff that is supposed to hold metal to metal and plastic to metal.  It looks exactly like the stuff you have here, too.  What am I doing wrong?  Should I wait longer?  Supposedly it cures in 4 minutes and is really ready to use after an hour.  Should I leave it for a full day before trying it?
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Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #9 on: Sep 23, 2008, 08:35 AM »
Worse comes to worse....try GOOP.  Sold at Home Depot and Walmart.

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Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #10 on: Sep 23, 2008, 09:59 AM »
Very timely info my vest will be here next week and I was wondering about a good way to figure out placement. One quick question where did you find those heavy duty snaps?
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K'raam Xrati

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Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #11 on: Sep 23, 2008, 08:16 PM »
Very timely info my vest will be here next week and I was wondering about a good way to figure out placement. One quick question where did you find those heavy duty snaps?

Jo-Ann's Fabrics or Hobby Lobby.
« Last Edit: Aug 29, 2011, 09:23 AM by K'raam Xrati »


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K'raam Xrati

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Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #12 on: Sep 23, 2008, 08:22 PM »
Err...  Still not working. :(  I went out and got this "Perma oxy" Stuff that is supposed to hold metal to metal and plastic to metal.  It looks exactly like the stuff you have here, too.  What am I doing wrong?  Should I wait longer?  Supposedly it cures in 4 minutes and is really ready to use after an hour.  Should I leave it for a full day before trying it?

This needs to be asked...Are you mixing the putty together? The gray outside and black middle makes a uniform dark gray putty when properly kneaded/mixed. When the putty cures, the left over putty turns rock hard (and usually warm) . Keep the left over putty to tell when the snaps are cured/bonded. It is supposed to cure in 5 minutes, but it's good advise not to touch it for at least 15 minutes.

Post pics of your work.


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Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #13 on: Sep 23, 2008, 09:36 PM »
This needs to be asked...Are you mixing the putty together? The gray outside and black middle makes a uniform dark gray putty when properly kneaded/mixed. When the putty cures, the left over putty turns rock hard (and usually warm) . Keep the left over putty to tell when the snaps are cured/bonded. It is supposed to cure in 5 minutes, but it's good advise not to touch it for at least 15 minutes.

Post pics of your work.

At first I though I didn't mix it well enough, so I tried it again and I got the warm dark grey putty.  Could it be that I'm putting too much on?  I let it dry overnight, but when I tried to attach them, the snaps on the armour just came off. The putty usually stays put, the snap just doesn't want to stick to the putty.   
Yes, I have a lightsaber.  Yes, I have Force Powers.  Got a problem with that?  Too bad.

K'raam Xrati

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Re: Armor/Snaps Tutorial
« Reply #14 on: Sep 24, 2008, 07:09 PM »
  Could it be that I'm putting too much on?  I let it dry overnight, but when I tried to attach them, the snaps on the armour just came off. The putty usually stays put, the snap just doesn't want to stick to the putty.   

In this pic, you can see the gray putty coming through the center hole. When it does that, it acts as another anchor. It forms somewhat of a "nailhead" and helps hold.


Are you using the male end on the armor and female on the fabric side?
Are you using both pieces of the snap when putting it on the armor?


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